NHL Network aired the Blackhawks/Lightening from Winnipeg tonight. It was my first look to see new coach Guy Boucher’s 1-3-1. Each team iced its ‘A’ team…

I found the game between the 1st and 2nd periods. The first time I saw the Bolts setup the 1-3-1 or diamond  was on the PP. On offense it sets up as most would imagine. One man at the top of the crease, 3 across from the dots and one between the hash marks and a D stationed at the center top from just inside the blue line.

This assault is all about getting the one timer. 4 guys are in position and 3 in the high percentage area. And of course one on the doorstep to clean up any garbage left around the crease.

The Bolts showed surprising ability to glom the loose pucks from the Diamond PP. Starting from the pivot, stationed between the hash marks the 1-3-1 creates 4 triangles. The attacking team slides diamond East/West toward the area of the loose puck. Once the trap is established or in this case triangulated, the puck is turned back over and the Diamond PP gravitates back to into position for its next assault.

That’s what I saw the Lightening do on the PP. It worked,unexpectedly, but it worked. Hawks D-man pounced on a loose puck to the left of Toivonen. Sensing backside pressure, Hendry had nowhere to go but up the left side boards. Which he did to the waiting Martin St. Louis who had read it all the way.

Master he is, St. Louis drew another Hawk to him at the mid-boards, flipped the biscuit to Simon Gagne who launched a seeing eye wrister from the right side hash mark past the Hawks goalie.

To get a better understanding of how the 1-3-1 Diamond PP works check out this instructional video.

All the buzz has been about Lightening coach Guy Boucher is using the 1-3-1 as a trapping system. Not on the PP. This is where Boucher is truly innovating. I didn’t find anything hockey related about the 1-3-1 defense.

Plenty of material on the 1-3-1 defense in basketball. Did Boucher tear a page from the old Soviet Union book and apply b-ball tactic to hockey? It would appear so.

Side note: Back in the 1950’s and 60’s the Soviet Union decided it was going to compete in hockey. The first coaches came from b-ball, of which the Soviet Union had in abundance. The 5-man unit and many of the short passing strategies we see today came from that era.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the 1-3-1 used a neutral zone trapping system. This was the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks who the Bolts played last night. The quickest transition in the game is still very evident on the Hawks side of things.

Tampa Bay didn’t have time to set up anything int eh neutral zone against Chicago.

The Lightening did establish the 1-3-1 in their own zone on one shift. Using the four natural triangles they seemed to easily force and limit the Hawks to playing on the perimeter.

One way Boucher’s Lightening might execute the 1-3-1 neutral zone trap is on the dump and change. The Bolts just didn’t get it established.

As the Hawks proved once again last night, great transition from the back line beats all traps.

Note: Mike Smith should be looking over his shoulder after the performance of Bolts 3rd string goalie Cedrick Desjardins.

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Comments
  1. czhokej says:

    Every offensive and defensive system must be separated into smaller categories (PK, PP, offensive, neutral and defensive zone), and somehow must fit the types of available players. You cannot expect Pronger and Scotty to play the same style. The video showed 1-3-1 offensive positioning on PK. Neutral zone defense 1-3-1 is much more complex and I still have some problems visualizing it.

    • BackCheck says:

      Is that a typo cz? The video is definitely showing the 1-3-1 Diamond PP and setting it up with a pass back to the point.

      True, I would have liked to have seen how they set up a 1-3-1 trap in the neutral zone. Hawks are just so quick though, all the Bolts could do was pick up their checks and stay with them.

      Totally understand about the visual. I’m still looking for a digital coaches board we can draw on.

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